NEWS AND NOTES FROM The Prince George's County Historical Society Vol. VIII, no. 1 January 1980
The New Year's Program There will be no meetings of the Prince George's County Historical Society in January or February. The 1980 meeting program will begin with the March meeting on the second Saturday of that month.
Public Forum on Historic Preservation The Maryland‑National Capital Park and Planning Commission will sponsor a public forum on the future of historic preservation in Prince George's County on Thursday, January 10, at the Parks and Recreation Building, 6600 Kenilworth Avenue, in Riverdale. This forum, is the first step in the process of drafting a county Historic Sites and Districts Plan by the commission. (See next article). The purpose of the forum is to receive public testimony on historic preservation in Prince George's county. Among the questions to be addressed are these:
How important should historic preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, and revitalization be to Prince George's County?
What should the objectives and priorities of a historic sites and districts plan be?
What should be the relative roles of County government and private enterprise be in historic preservation and restoration?
To what extent should the destruction of historic landmarks be regulated and their restoration or preservation subsidized?
How should historic preservation relate to tourism, economic development, and revitalization?
Where should the responsibility rest for making determinations about the relative merits of preserving and restoring individual sites?
Members of the Historical Society, as well as others interested in historic preservation and its impact on county life, are invited to attend and, if they like, to testify. The Historic Sites and Districts Plan
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND ERECTED ON ST. GEORGE'S DAY, APRIL 23,1696 will have great impact on the preservation of our county's heritage. Come on out and show your support.
The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m.
"Drafting a Plan to Save History'' At the direction of the County Council, the Maryland‑National Capital Park and Planning Commission in January will begin drafting a plan to protect Prince George's County's historic sites. To summarize the intent of the plan and the steps to lead to its creation, we reprint the following article from the October 12 issue of Councilgram, the weekly legislative report of the Prince George's County Council.
Drafting a Plan To Save History
"Prince George's County, by all estimates, is' blessed with some of the finest colonial homes and farms along the East Coast. But by those sane estimates, Prince George's County is losing its historic sites at a rapid clip.
"The County Council is proposing a plan that would put the brakes on the historic losses.
"The County Council has asked the Maryland‑National Capital Park and Planning Commission to draft a historic sites and district plan as an amendment to the General Plan to map out legislative and other incentives to promote private maintenance and restoration of some of the county's finest historic homes. CR‑69 [Council Resolution 69] was authored by Chairman William Amonett. The resolution was enacted unanimously by the County Council this week [October 9].
"According to the resolution, the plan, to be completed by June 30, 1980, is set listing goals for preservation and restoration as well as outline criteria for designating sites as worthy of preservation.
"The plan will include a brief description of each site recommended for preservation and a map showing the general location.
"On the issue of preservation, the plan will pinpoint potential sources of funds for preservation, including possible revenue from publicly‑owned sites and development of a tourism program using the historic buildings as a focal point.
"The Park and Planning Commission will be aided by a Citizens Advisory Committee in drafting the plan, which would go to public hearing before final action by the Council. The historic sites plan will be handled in much the same manner as a master plan.
"At least 60 percent of the Citizens Advisory Committee will be composed of trustees of the Prince George's Historic and Cultural Trust and members of the Prince George's Committee of the Maryland Historical Trust and the Prince George's County Historical Society. The panel's membership will include representatives of communities with a concentration of historic sites, the Prince George's Municipal Association, the business community and professionals involved in historic preservation, including architects and lawyers."
Perry 0. Wilkinson We regret to inform the membership of the death on December 14 of Perry 0. Wilkinson, former Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates and a member of this Society.
Mr. Wilkinson was born in Hebron, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore, and received both bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Maryland. He became a teacher in the public schools of Prince George's County and later established the insurance agency in Hyattsville which bore his name and With which he was associated for many years. In 1942 he was elected to the House of Delegates and served in that body for twenty years. He was its Speaker from 1959 until 1962.
Perry was a member of the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, and several Democratic clubs. He attended the Society's meetings and programs with his wife Mabel quite frequently. The Society extends its deepest sympathy to Mrs. Wilkinson and to their son, Perry 0. Wilkinson, Jr.
New Members of the Society We welcome the following individuals to membership in the Prince George's County Historical Society:
John L. Pallas Camp Sprlngs Mr. Embrey
Tom and. Jerry Willoughby College Park Mr. Embrey
Mr. & Mrs. Herbert L. Baer Hyattsville Mr. Virta
William and Frances Armistead College Park Mr. Skarda
Kenneth A. Clagett Alexandria, Va. Mr. DeMarr
Frank M. Drane San Antonio, Tex. Mr. DeMarr
Richard and Betsy O'Branovich Bowie Mr. Virta
Jo Ann Kilbourne Temple Hills Mr. Dent
Janice S. Scott Laurel Mrs. Marshall
Charles R. Kilbourne Upper Marlboro Mr. Dent
Charles and Barbara Dockendorf Hyattsville Mr. DeMarr
Membership Dues for 1980 The Society's treasurer, Herb Embrey, will be sending out bills for 1980 membership dues in January. New members who joined the Society during the Fall of 1979, however, are covered for 1980.
Victorian Valentine, Display The Surratt Society's 1980 Victorian Valentine Display will be February 9 and 10 at the Surratt House, 9110 Brandywine Road, in Clinton. The hours will be from noon until 4 p.m. For ‑more information, call the Surratt House at 868‑1121.
Public Forum on Historic Preservation‑January 10‑Riverdale‑7:30 pm.
"All the World Growing Religious'' During the middle year's of the 18th century, but chiefly during the 1730's and 40's, America experienced a religious revival known as the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening was characterized by emotionalism, enthusiasm, and religious excitement; it was an outburst of intense religious feeling by people who were not satisfied with the older conventional forms of worship. In his book, Seeds of Liberty: The Genesis of the American Mind, historian Max Savelle describes the coming of the Great Awakening in these words:
"The old established religions...were apparently losing their contact with the common people.... Somehow the religions of the Puritans and the Anglicans seemed cold and impersonal and not very useful to the people on the farms and along the frontier who had little time, preparation, or patience for fine‑spun theological argument. They needed a religion that was vital, moving, personal.... Religion had 'cooled off'; on the other hand, there was nothing in America as yet to take its place as an outlet for human emotional and social energy. Anyone who could 'warm religion up' again, and renew it as a vital force among the uneducated masses had an almost boundless opportunity lying ripe and ready for him. A group of such leaders, or revivers, appeared in America in the third decade of the eighteenth century."
The greatest of these revivers, according to Savelle, was the evangelist George Whitefield. An associate of John Wesley and the Methodists in England, Whitefield came to America in 1739 at the young age of twenty‑four to preach the message of religious revival. Benjamin Franklin attended one of Whitefield's meetings, and was impressed: "The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much they admir'd and respected him, notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring them they were naturally half beasts and half devils. It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seem'd as if all the world were growing religious, so that we could not walk thro' the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street." George Whitefield came to Maryland, and to Prince George's County, in December of 1739. We print below some excerpts from his journal of his visit.
Joppa [Baltimore County]
Tuesday, Dec. 4 . Set out about eight in the morning, and took leave of two dear friends, who parted from, us with weeping eyes. Baited [took refreshments] at Joppa, a little town about fifteen miles from the place where we lay. I gave a word of exhortation to about forty people in the church. Oh, that the Holy Ghost may fall on all them who heard the Word, in as real though not in so visibly miraculous a manner as it did once on Cornelius and his household! Maryland, as far as I can hear, seems to be a place as yet unwatered with the true Gospel of Christ and with no likelihood of much good being done in it, unless one could abide there for some time. There is scarcely any town worth mentioning, because almost every planter has a landing‑place, from which he exports his tobacco at his own house, which generally lies very near the river. By this means the people are much dispersed, and consequently cannot be gathered together without much previous notice, which, notwithstanding, is difficult to be given, because there are many large ferries between place and place. I trust the time will come when God will visit these dark corners of the earth.
Newtown and Annapolis
Wednesday, Dec. 5. Lay last night at Newtown, fifteen miles from Joppa; ate what was set before us; joined in family prayer; and, as opportunity offered, put in a word for God. In the morning we sang and prayed; at noon we baited at a house lying about fifteen miles off, and by four in the afternoon, we reached Annapolis, a
little town, but the metropolis of Maryland. The house where we lodged was very commodious, considering it was in Maryland, but the people of it seemed to be surprised when they heard us talk of God and Christ. Notwithstanding, both they and the other strangers attended very orderly at family prayer, and I endeavoured to recommend them, as I was enabled, to the mercy of our gracious and good God. Oh that I may prevail in their behalf! 'It grieves me in my soul to see poor sinners hanging as it were by a single hair, and dancing (insensible of their danger) over the flames of hell. Oh, that God may make me instrumental in plucking them as firebrands out of the fire! For here is the misery of man; he is miserable, poor, and blind, and naked, and yet knows it not. Lord Jesus, send forth, we beseech Thee, Thy light, and lighten our darkness, for Thy mercies' sake!
Thursday, Dec. 6 Had an opportunity of writing some letters last night and this morning to England. Waited on Governor Ogle [Samuel Ogle, of Belair, Prince George's County], and was received with much civility....
Friday, Dec. 7. A visible alteration has taken place in the behaviour of the people of the house. Preached in the morning and evening to small polite auditories. The Governor put aside his court to come to morning service, and at noon, upon an invitation sent last night, I and my friends dined with him....
Saturday, Dec. 8. Had more last night come to family prayer. Left Annapolis this morning. Baited at Upper Marlborough, about fifteen miles distant, intending to go further; but being desired by some gentlemen to stay and preach on the morrow, I was prevailed upon, and spent the remainder of the day in sweet conversation with my friends, and in writing letters to some under convictions at Philadelphia. I supped with a gentleman who kindly entertained both me and my fellow‑travellers. Our talk ran upon the fall of man. I fear Deism has spread much in these parts. I cannot say I have yet met with many here Min seem truly to have the fear of God before their eyes.
Upper Marlborough, Port Tobacco
Sunday, Dec. 9. Preached at Upper Marlborough, to a small, polite, and seemingly very curious audience. Dined with the gentleman with whom we supped last night. There being no sermon in the, afternoon, we took horse, and went a Sabbath‑day's journey as far as Piscataway, where we were kindly entertained. Wrote some letters to our English friends. Conversed to the use of edifying, and felt an uncommon freedom and sweetness in each other's spirits. Well might our Lord say, "The Kingdom of God is within you;" for they who are truly born of God, carry Heaven in their hearts.
'From Piscataway Whitefield travelled on to Port Tobacco and there he crossed the river into Virginia. While his brief tour through Maryland could not be considered a success in terms of the size of the audience he had reached, his earlier tours through the northern and middle colonies had been. There he spoke to hundreds at a time. ‑‑Alan Virta
Sources: Savelle, Max. Seeds of Liberty. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 1948 pp 59‑61 (including the quote from Benjamin Franklin, from his Writings).
Whitefield, George. George Whitefield’s Journals. The Banner of Truth Trust. 1960.
Maryland Antiques Show and Sale The second annual Maryland Antiques Show and Sale, sponsored by and for the benefit of the Maryland Historical Society, will be held in Baltimore at the Convention Center on February 8, 9, and 10. The show will feature English furniture as well as formal and country American furniture, together with fine porcelains, silver, brass, glass, clocks, dolls, and rare maps. General admission is $3.00, and the hours are from noon until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday'. For more information contact the Maryland Historical Society at 301‑685‑3750.
The Society of Industrial Archeology Those who are interested in Maryland's historic engineering and industrial heritage are invited to the January meeting of the Benjamin H. Latrobe chapter of the Society of Industrial Archeology, based in Baltimore. The meeting will be held at the Baltimore Industrial Museum, 217 Fayette Street, on January 26 from 2 to 5 p.m. There will be a film and refreshments. Past projects of the group have included tours of the Weissner Brewery, iron bridges of Frederick County, and the Pratt Street Power Station.
The Prince George's County Historical Society Subscription to this monthly newsletter is included in the annual membership dues of $5.00. Our address: P.O. Box 14, Riverdale , Maryland 20840.
NEWS AND NOTES FROM